RUBE GOLDBERG IN MASSACHUSETTS
Summer visitors to the verdant climes of western Massachusetts can take in the vaudevillian "critique of industrialization" by early 20th-century cartoonist Rube Goldberg at the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Mass. "Chain Reaction: Rube Goldberg and Contemporary Art," July 21-Dec. 16, 2001, features 57 drawings by Goldberg along with more recent works by contemporary artists who share his fascination with rudimentary engineering, including Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Tim Hawkinson, Martin Kersels and Alan Rath. The show is organized by Ian Berry, curator of the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, where it appears early next year, Jan. 26-June 2, 2002.
While at the Williams museum, check out the progress of construction on the new Louise Bourgeois outdoor sculpture, a permanent installation that is slated to open on Sept. 30, 2001.
DENVER ART MUSEUM GOES WEST
In a frenzy of cowboymania, the Denver Art Museum has announced the establishment of a new Institute of Western American Art. The initiative, which is really just a new curatorial department in the museum, comes in the wake of the museum's enormously popular traveling exhibition, "Painters and the American West," as well as its acquisition of the Harmsen Collection's 700-plus Western artworks. The new enterprise is headed by museum deputy director Joan Carpenter Troccoli, former director of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, who told the Denver Post she stamped the moniker "institute" on it to demonstrate the "high-level focus" it will receive. In addition to the Harmsen Collection, Denver owns works by Charles Marion Russell, Frederic Remington and Charles Deas, plus collection of 19th-century photographs of the West.
OUTSIDERS ON EBAY
EBay Premier launches its first auction of Outsider Art on Aug. 15-25, 2001, with a selection of 50 works by Thorton Dial, Minnie Evans, Lee Godie, William Hawkins, Nellie Mae Rowe, Jon Serl, Bill Traylor and about 20 other artists. Sellers include Mark Karelson of the Modern Primitive Gallery in Atlanta, plus Luise Ross Gallery (New York), Judy Saslow Gallery (Chicago) and Ames Gallery (Berkeley, Ca.). Top lots include Traylor's Barking Dog (est. $40,000-$48,000) and Dial's Sitting on the State (est. $7,5000-$9,500). Bidding on some lots starts at amounts as low as $400.
MOMA MOVES SCULPTURES TO THE BRONX
The Museum of Modern Art will display 15 of its most popular sculpture-garden sculptures at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx from Apr. 26, 2002-Aug. 31, 2003, while the museum is closed for construction of its Yoshio Taniguchi expansion. In her Friday column, Carol Vogel of the New York Times reports that the loan, a first for both institutions, is facilitated by the fact that several trustees of the Modern also serve on the board of the Botanical Garden. The works slated for the Bronx are Aristide Maillol's 1943 reclining nude River, seen not too long ago at the entrance of the museum's "Modern Starts: People" exhibition; Auguste Rodin's 1897 Balzac, Henry Moore's 1948-49 Family Group and Elie Nadelman's 1915 bronze Man in the Open Air.
BOSTON MFA ADMISSION HITS $14
Art lovers gasped with museum admission fees hit $10, the price of a first-run movie. But starting on Monday, Aug. 6, 2001, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts is jacking up its adult admission price to a new high of $14, a price that makes it the most expensive museum in the U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal. The cost for senior citizens and college students swells from $10 to $12, while children aged seven to seventeen were spared, with their entrance fee holding steady at $5. Children get in free all day on weekends and after 3 p.m. on weekdays, and Wednesdays is "pay what you wish" from 4 p.m. to closing at 9:45 p.m. Access to the museum shop and, restaurant remains free of charge.
U.S. MUSEUMS ARE COOL
The Wall Street Journal has picked up on a new trend sweeping the art world; air-conditioning. Apparently, many museums are playing up their "coolness" as a selling point to ebbing crowds. "Be Cool at the Kimbell" brags the ads for the Fort Worth Museum, while marketing director Margaret Keough of Missouri's Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art admits to WSJ reporter Brooks Barnes, "Our air conditioning is a huge selling point for us."
Venturing that the cooling craze has created resentment among genuine art lovers regarding the space taken up by overheated amateurs, the WSJ sent Barnes to tour ten of the nation's top museums, thermometer in hand, to get the low-down on their temperatures on 80-degree days.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, was the coolest of the bunch at a frigid 69 degrees, followed closely by the Hirshhorn Museum in D.C. and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Tied for hottest at 81 degrees were the National Gallery of Art and the High Museum in Atlanta. Barnes found that the most sweltering spots were generally the gift shops, packed with bodies, and the lobbies, where there wasn't artwork requiring regulated temps. Oh, and don't expect California museums to be jumping on the AC bandwagon; the energy crisis there has most museums easing off on the thermostat.
-- compiled by Evonne Gambrell, Lily Kim and the Artnet Magazine staff.